Sidereal ramblings

Monday, July 30, 2007

Now the student has become the master

Okay, despite the Darth Vader opening quote, I don't technically get my master's degree in English Studies until fall semester. (Apparently, there was some type of deadline that I wasn't even aware of that I missed by a week in applying for.) However, as of last Friday, all my course work is completed, and on Thursday, I turned in all my signed, required paperwork, so it's now just a matter of things filtering through the system, and I will be a recognized master of all things English-related. I am so looking forward to not having to attend classes and do homework on the weekends while I'm trying to teach my own classes and direct plays this coming school year. It sounds like a breeze, frankly.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lie to me

I'm halfway through a two-week class in children's and young adult non-fiction. I took this class for a number of reasons, the main one being that we don't ever do much teaching centered around non-fiction, and I don't know much about it. Most people probably read a lot more non-fiction than fiction, and we don't address that in school. The thing I've learned the most so far is that I don't really care a lot for non-fiction. I've read some things that've been okay, some that I rather enjoyed (there's a recent young adult book on Marco Polo I read this afternoon that's just gorgeous and fascinating), but mostly it's made me want to read some kind of fiction based on the same subjects.

I love stories, and my tastes run far more to the fantastic (hence, my interest in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, to say nothing of the comics) than the realistic. That seems to be my trouble with the class. I want someone to tell me stories. Lie to me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

As I Liked It

Thursday past, three nights ago, I saw the Great River Shakespeare Festival performance of As You Like It. As usual, they did a fine, professional, and very entertaining job with this play. But somehow I didn't like it as much as the ones I saw last summer (the first year I attended any of their performances). I've been considering that fact for the past couple of days, and I think I've come to the reason for it: the play itself. I've seen proabably half a dozen or slightly more of the Bard's works performed, and with the exception of Cymbeline, it's the first one I've seen that I haven't read (at least that I remember -- college was a long, long time ago). It's not that I didn't understand the play or couldn't follow the action; no, the GRSF did a fine job of making it clear. I just don't think it's one of Bill's best works. There were a number of scenes where I found myself wondering, what's the point of this? A few scenes (and characters) just seemed to be filler until the main players and storyline could reappear on stage. Now, it may well be that I'd feel differently if I'd read and studied the script (usually a help in watching any play, though I often find myself thinking how I would have directed it differently), but it didn't seem like as strong and coherent a work as I'd expect from this playwright.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bring on the tootsie rolls

I was up to the small town of Trimont today for their annual summer festival and parade. The parade was, in a word, slight. It was short, and not that exciting. (Ah, for the days of the glorious Catfish Days parade -- now that was something.) I know I've made this point before, but I'm not sure that I ever made it in print: parades are the only time (one hopes) where parents not only allow but encourage their kids to pick up food lying in the street.

The wheels go 'round and 'round

Last summer I got pretty obsessive about bike riding. I rode 8-10 miles a day, not a long ride by any stretch, but I tried very hard not to miss a day. I spent a lot of time last summer going back and forth to Winona -- I was pulling comics from my collection in preparation for my first shot at being a dealer at last fall's comic con in St. Paul. When I'd make these trips to Winona, I'd go for a bike ride early in the day (keeping in mind here that I probably slept until noon most days), then drive over. The following day, I'd return home early enough that I could still take a ride in the evening before dark. Like I said, obsessive.

This summer, while still wanting to get in enough riding, I decided when summer began that I wasn't going to obsess over it. I'd try and ride often, but if I missed a day here and there, no big deal. I've kept that attitude, and it seems to have worked. I haven't missed a day riding in awhile -- in fact, today was the 30th day in a row that I rode. I've been doing a ten-mile route daily this summer, although one day I cut that down to eight (I just couldn't see riding an extra mile at that point straight into a 30-mile per hour wind); I did make that up by riding 12 one day later in the week. So, anyway, in the last month, I've ridden 300 miles, which I think is pretty cool.

I bring this up now 'cause I'm sure that at some point soon, I'll miss a day. But I won't obsess about it.